The whole country is in crisis, including civil society, but it is “not dead - it is alive and solving pressing issues.”
"Speaking of the results of the past year and the prospects for 2017, it is important to recall the global context", - stressed Ulad Vialichka, co-chairman of the Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership (EaP CSF), recently elected National Coordinator of the Forum for Belarus in his interview with the "EuroBelarus" Information Service:
"The past year was not a very successful time in terms of vim, a sense of perspective. The entire Western, primarily European civilization, which fights for development and for certain ideas is in crisis today."
According to Ulad Vialichka, there is no "breakthrough region that would demonstrate considerable progress, set the tone in the world today".
"This, of course, is reflected in our local context, the context of Belarus and the Belarusian civil society in particular. All players now seek to maintain the status quo rather than transform the situation", - said Ulad Vialichka.
The national coordinator of the EaP CSF calls the current state a "smoldering existence with some local development elements".
"But life goes on, the development is still there. For example, the self-financing systems of different initiatives start to play a major role, "- pointed out Ulad Vialichka.
The expert formulates the second trend as a “certain marketization of civil activity":
"Today, the most successful in terms of attractiveness and popularity civil initiatives exist in commercial forms more familiar to the market - we can see a symbiosis of idea and entrepreneurship - for example, the "Art Siadzіba","Mova Nanova" initiatives," - notes Ulad Vialichka.
According to him, the civil society in Belarus follows the world trends becoming more diverse and less organized:
"Today, flexible forms of initiatives are the most successful but at the same time, they are often short-term", - explained Ulad Vialichka.
At the same time, "I would not over-dramatize the situation, today we may observe a quite natural period of something new taking shape, but it is clear that the vim and new ideas will appear in the civil society when there is a sense of perspective ":
"For example, we get an interesting material for comparison from our Ukrainian and Georgian colleagues. Something is happening there every day, not always good things, of course, but there is life. As for us, despite the soft belarusization and the concessions on the part of the authorities in relation to the civil activities, social life does not begin to flourish. But, in any case, civil society today is not dead, it is alive and dealing with pressing issues, which will give its results. Moreover, there is an additional source of possible activity - Belarusian-European relations, even though they have a rather clumsy form right now", - said Ulad Vialichka.
"It is important to highlight that in 2016 the civil society started a dialogue with the state, though it is not quite full-fledged yet. But an opportunity to break down stereotypes, fears and prejudices appeared, there is a ground for communication. And our goal is to make this dialogue work."